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Linux is a waste of time? 351

Anonymous Bastard writes "There's an article in today's Chicago Tribune suggesting that the effort being put into the Linux operating system would be better spent improving Microsoft's software. The author says that Linux is trying to reinvent the wheel. Linux isn't a waste of time, is it? " Oh my.
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Linux is a waste of time?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I will assume everyone reading this article will agree that Linux is superior to any Microsoft operating system. Given that Linux is the superior system, arguing that abandonment of Linux to improve Windows is equivalent to arguing that rather than developing transistors, scientists should have worked on improving vacuum tubes.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I couldn't find the author's email address on the page, so here goes.

    After you've insulted every one of my ideals, and told me that your way is right, and mine is dead wrong, after you've tried to make a point that monopilistic business practices are ok, and that somehow, you are hurt by linux's existance, I decided to think up a response that was equally as intelligent as your article:

    Fuck you.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    One could also argue that MS thought THEY could reinvent the wheel. Nothing they've done is older than the ideas put forth by thousands of prior INDIVIDUALS (whether sponsored by corporations or not). What? From DOS to Windows to Office. Tell me what is new and I'll tell you what isn't. Maybe I can't pinpoint the origins, but by the same token, MS can't either. The difference is that free software has no means to lay claim to petty ideas, just to the time and effort required to compose them. MS lays claim to everything, and is willing to fight over it like a brainless, incompassionate bully.

    *ack!* Sto--p ch--o--king me!

    Al--right! All right already!

    MS invented consumers.
    MS invented marketing.
    MS invented the internet.
    MS invented the gui.
    MS invented the mouse.
    MS invented the wheel.
    MS invented mechanics.
    MS invented physics.
    MS invented information.
    MS invented your thoughts.
    MS invented you.
    MS invented consumers.


    Did I reveal too much?

    I'm confused. Who is the majority? Who is the minority. Who is playing the devil's advocate? Are they the minority or the majority?

    Who is contributing? Who is taking?

    "Oh my," is right. Oh my, where are my rights?

    Free software == Personal liberty.
    Closed software == Collective prison.

    I'll stop my hand waving now. After all, I'm not being paid to market my brand.

    Oh, the sarcasm kills! Can't everyone see that it's arbitrary! Laugh! Cry. Laugh! Cry.

    Now, on to the serious analysis.

    MS is not the only corporation.
    GNU is not the only free software.

    Where the line is drawn, nobody knows! Any judgement made is telling half the story!

    If you start drawing line segments, a cloud will emerge.

    Orbiting clouds may condensate or disperse, depending upon their relative momenta.

    Some clouds pass through each other.

    Similarities pervade, but so does uniqueness.

    Structure and patterns emerge, but so do variables.

    What we need are definitions of property that preserve, rather than destroy, possibilities. The GPL is a great example of this. Unfortunately, the GPL requires too many words. Wouldn't it be nice if the corporate environment didn't require so much legal code? If free software becomes the defacto standard, I could see a much more benevolent relationship arising between producers and consumers. Marketing could revert their attention inward instead of outward. Products would more closely match the needs of the consumer. The consumer would be happier. The supplier would feel justly satisfied.

    It doesn't take much work to change things. It only takes an open mind and a benevolent soul. Changes do not have to be radical, they just need to be an improvement. The more you procrastinate, the more radical changes may seem. Changes will occur. When changes are put off, or improvements are only allowed to trickle, the potential for change increases, and the tidal wave will soon envelope you.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sounds like you understand only surface beauty. You say that you can use "dozens of interfaces to the same applications", and specify four different window managers. Changing your window manager _doesn't_ change the application. Using AfterStep doesn't magically give all my applications NeXT-like widgets. It doesn't give them standard key bindings for common operations like Open, Close, etc.

    This is why KDE and GNOME are important. Apps share a common look _and feel_. Meaning you don't have to learn a new set of key bindings with every applcation. Although self-professed power users may not mind, I think this is the kind of thing that would frustrate "joe sizpack".
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The author is obviously being facetious but I'm afraid my dim AC self just doesn't get the point of the joke. Ahh well.

    I've probably been in this field longer than the reporter. I know a good thing when I see one. OS/2 was technically superior to Windows back in the heyday of OS/2 and I was right on that bandwagon. I remember telling the TeamOS/2 people that I was only using the platform because it was the best thing on the intel platform at the time and I would drop it in a second if something better came along. I did too. Same thing goes for Linux, too. Hype doesn't dictate my choices. Quality and flexibility do. I don't see Linux being replaced on my desktop anytime in the next couple of years. Microsoft's insipid offerings certainly don't appeal to me. If they were capable of coming up with something better I'd use it, but I really don't think they are capable. They lack the creative juices that drive true innovation.

    Ah but I ramble. You youngsters have to understand that we tend to go on like this when we get older. Anyway, whatever the various detractors and hack journalists say, they can't even delay the inevitable much less prevent it. Linux is the Next Big Thing, and we all know it. The weak points are being addressed at an astounding rate and the strong points are being made even stronger. With everyone jumping on the bandwagon, we'll do just fine without the hype from the press backing us up. Quality speaks for itself and it's coming in loud and proud on the Linux platform. All we have to do is play our cards right, and it'll be a lot harder to misplay our hand than it would be if we were coming from a single company.

    Remember: The corporate world came to us, we didn't come to them. Wintel is on its way out -- intel is fading fast with nothing up their sleeve for the next two years by which time AMD will have eaten their lunch and their dinner too. Microsoft's got to cut the ties and fend for themselves, and it's going to be every man for himself. The old power blocks are falling and new ones are forming. It's the real way of this industry. Microsoft has been able to artificially hold it together for over a decade, but they were bound to lose it eventually. They almost lost it with OS/2 -- if IBM had been any better at marketing, the scene would be a bit different now. Not that in the long run OS/2 would have made a difference in the Linux scene. Not many people remember that Microsoft originally designed that one as well, and it shows, deep down underneath all that patchwork IBM installed to hold it together.

    Er. What was my point? I know I have one around here somewhere. Oh yes. Ignore those nay-sayers. Stash their articles away on CD ROM and tuck them away in a safe deposit box for 5 years or so. Break them out then and E-mail their editors their work from today. Cause lots of embarassment. "Boy," their editors will say, "Did you call that one wrong."

    And finally, remeber: We're all in this together.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, I think the Mac OS and OS/2 interfaces are the UIs-to-kill-all-UIs, just because I've spent a good deal of time in them and have learned to love them both dearly.
    However, I agree very much with your point that it's EXTENSIBLE interfaces that should be the focus of the future.
    Apple's Appearance extension, beginning in OS 8.0 and greatly extended in 8.5.x, allows a good deal of customization. Even changing *every* interface element. That feature was available in the beta releases, and in an illegally distributed Drawing Board theme that completely overhaulled every element, but was dropped from the commercial release due to "quality control concerns"
    Anyway, there's Kaleidoscope ( that does this for a shareware feel. It's more complete than say WindowBlinds, but less complete than an X WM.

    Mac OS X actually allows the user to *replace* the Finder-like-shell with any shell. I understand it also has an extensible interface architecture.

    I think maybe the Big Ugly Corporations are finally coming around to the fact that user's have a basic need to personalize their work enviroment. Microsoft doesn't understand this. And never will. (No, those hideous toolbars that do nothing and get in the way don't count! :P)

    Anyway, I liked your observation and thought I'd jump in...
  • As noted on his " home page []", here's his e-mail address: [mailto]. Have at it :).

    Alex Bischoff

  • Furthermore, Microsoft Windows 2000, which made its debut in Chicago at last week's Comdex computer show, is a much more useful personal computer operating system than the dinky feature-weak, application-starved flavor of home-brewed Unix known as Linux.

    How could a dinky operating system be used as the major operating system for web servers on the Internet today? How could a dinky operating system be used to create a Beowulf cluster more powerful than a Cray? How could a dinky operating system be used to create the special effects in Titanic?
  • I have to admit that the beginning of the article reads as flamebait. But I get the impression that that was intended more as a noise filter than anything else: the flames can be easily identified and tossed.

    That said, the fundamental flaw in the article is his suggestion is that Microsoft wants anyone to fix their software. The facts are:

    (1) They don't make the source available for fixing, except via restrictive licensing that locks most people out of it;

    (2) They only fix bugs themselves if they get a lot of airplay, and even then they try to put blame elsewhere (recall when the Win95 SMB ".." bug was found, and they tried to blame the Samba folks? They aren't quite so blatent about it now, but they still tend to avoid taking responsibility for their bugs).

    The bottom line is, if it were possible for us (meaning people outside of Microsoft) to fix Windows bugs, we would undoubtedly be doing so. A large part of the impetus behind Linux, FreeBSD, etc. comes from the fact that we can't fix Windows (or, for that matter, Solaris or AIX or ...).

    So the article's premise is wrong from the beginning. There's little point in discussing the article... although there might be some point in discussing the premise with the reporter.
  • I know going in that I'll take more flak for this column than just about any I could write

    Here comes some..

    the dinky feature-weak, application-starved flavor of home-brewed Unix known as Linux.

    He actually makes that 'home-brewed' comment once more in the article. What he fails to mention is that that 'home-brew' is being cooked up by some of the best chefs in the industry.

    Now, I feel that Microsoft is a big reason why hardware is so cheap these days. And that's definitely a good thing.

    He doesn't seem to understand that for the most past, folks don't use Linux to go against The Man, they use it because the Microsoft Way isn't so great. I hate when people send me Word documents via email. I hate using Microsoft's crappy development tools. I hate having to use tons of memory for OS services that I never use.

    Linux isn't for Joe Six Gig. It will never be, even with the efforts of the GNOME and KDE folks.

    The Internet was working swell on traditional Unix, Macintosh and Windows NT before Linux was much more than a glimmer in Linus' eye

    *plonk* Unix, yes. Mac, kinda. NT? When was NT 3.1 actually released? '93 or so? I remember running Slackware just fine back then.. I guess our intrepid reporter hadn't heard about Linux until very recently..

    Meanwhile, they would have us reinvent the wheel by wasting billions more hours creating applications to take advantage of Linux and make Torvalds' colleagues at Linux software houses like Red Hat Inc. and Caldera Systems Inc. rich. I have yet to pay for a Linux distribution. If I had to pull a number out of thin air, I'd guess that less than 25% of all Linux installs were purchased from RH and Caldera. Seems that those 'billions of wasted hours' are running countless web servers, ISPs, NT file and print servers, etc. pretty damned well. And I thank those people who have 'wasted' their time writing quality software. I have yet to see a product from Microsoft that lives up to any reasonable quality standard.

    Bill Gates isn't evil. He's not the problem. The roving masses of moronic brochureware IT rejects are to blame.

  • Well, it depends what you use Linux for. It lacks in IDEs, which are an important and useful programming tool, especially for large projects. It also is lacking in web browsers. Lynx is great for a textmode browser, but there is no good graphical web browser for Linux (no, Netscape does not count) on par with Opera for Windows.

    It's also missing games. Sure, there's Quake, but that's just the 5th rehash of Wolfenstein 3d. Even if you happen to like it, it's still only one game, compared to the thousands that Windows has.
  • Go by freshmeat. They have IDEs that look like Borland, IDEs that look like CodeWarrior and a few that do Their Own Thing (like the GXedit, or whatever the gnome project's one is.

    Well, I've seen RawHide, and it seems decent, but not quite as good as The Real Thing. I haven't seen much in the way of Visual C++ style IDEs though (not that I use them, but if I did Win95 or (ugh) X development, I'd want one).

    Frankly, though, IDEs are a lot less neccesary in a unix than they are in Windows or the MacOS. Having a powerful CLI and a really good text editor (emacs), the IDE is really unneeded.

    I disagree. When I'm trying to get something to work in a program, I like being able to make a small change, press ctrl-f9 to run the program to test it out, return to the IDE window, make another change, press ctrl-f9 to test it again, etc. Switching back and forth from emacs and a CLI to manually compile something is not nearly as fun or expedient.

    As for games, there are lots -- many of which are unavailable elsewhere; See xpilot or netrek, nevermind the new unix-only ones. See for a decent (but not entirely complete) listing.

    I was referring to major graphical games, such as StarCraft, Alpha Centauri, Vigilance, Rainbow Six, Need for Speed 3, Falcon 4.0, etc. Quakes I and II are the only games I can see for unix that fit in that category. Quake III and Civilization: Call To Power will also be released soon, but three games is still not a great selection.
  • It's pure trollishness plain and simple. I wouldn't doubt if he'd been given an incentive to write the article by Microsoft. Who cares anyway!

    I say, "Why waste time putting effort into Windows when we have a free and open alternative!"
  • by DrSpoo ( 650 )
    Oh man, I couldn't get through the whole article because I was on the floor busting a gut laughing and crying at the same time!

    I honestly can't believe some people think the way they do. Its really too bad he didn't give his email address anywhere on the page because I am really tempted to give him a (polite) line-by-line rebuttle for every FUD filled paragraph he spewed out.

    If ignorance is bliss, this guy has got to be on clowd 9.
  • As others have pointed out, no sense cooking this guy to a crisp with the old flamethrower, but a few minutes in the oven on low should do the trick ;)

  • ...or so I hear. Sorry I can't recall the reference, but I'm pretty sure it comes right from Red Hat themselves.
  • Go by freshmeat. They have IDEs that look like Borland, IDEs that look like CodeWarrior and a few that do Their Own Thing (like the GXedit, or whatever the gnome project's one is.

    Frankly, though, IDEs are a lot less neccesary in a unix than they are in Windows or the MacOS. Having a powerful CLI and a really good text editor (emacs), the IDE is really unneeded.

    As for games, there are lots -- many of which are unavailable elsewhere; See xpilot or netrek, nevermind the new unix-only ones. See for a decent (but not entirely complete) listing.
  • First, StarCraft runs under WINE; I play it quite a bit myself.

    There are commercial games available for linux... Hopkins FBI, BFRIS... . Frankly, flashy graphics is much overrated. Give me Crossfire and Freeciv any day. And given time, the commercial apps (or improvements in WINE to make them all run unmodified) will come.

    And now to something I know a bit better... IDEs.

    You need to learn to use emacs correctly. It does, indeed, let you make a small change, compile and run the program with a keystroke, run the debugger inside a pane... etc.

    You'd be surprised how much a really good text editor does.
  • Hey... I was just rereading that message and noticed something -- what's up with that "(ugh)"?

    Yes, Xlib is an ugly API. But developing with a good widget set makes X fun. (GTK makes X programming simply a joy; I understand that Qt is similarly great).

    I've done win32 and MFC development; I find GTK far, far better. And with the win32 (and, eventually, BeOS and maybe even MacOS) ports, pure glib/gtk apps will compile and run just 'bout anywhere.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 )
    Posted by unpHEAR:

    The only time wasted I see here. His to spend time reading this article.
  • Posted by kenmcneil:

    ..for a reason!

    Ready for the analogy?

    Development of n OS : Evolution of n species

    Both are very slow and often inefficient processes. But neither lead to a dead end like M$'s development model (if you're a little slow the "dead end" is 50E6 lines of code). Just another non-technical no-it-all reporter.

  • Posted by OGL:

    Sorry, but I'm going to have to correct you here, as it appears you don't know what you're talking about. For all the newbie's information: Linux is not UNIX, and depending on the UNIX flavor may be somewhat to totally incompatible with it. Furthermore, any legacy UNIX application for which the source code is not availible (read: most of them) cannot even be recompiled, and thus could never be run on Linux. Thanks for playing,

  • Posted by revgrg:

    indeed; unix community really wastes time to be
    MS compatible (samba, wine, dosemu ..)
    but consider also some calculus:
    400.000.000 PC with MS software;
    33% running every working day;
    10% of those rebooting for any MS reason;
    30 seconds bootup procedure minimum :

    that makes, believe it or not
    60 working years at (220 days/year, 8hours/day)

    world economy could win ~ 1-2 million dollars
    (16000-32000$/year) per day, but they prefer
    to pay MS the same amount per hour in order
    to create above losses
  • Posted by My_Favorite_Anonymous_Coward:

    Before you argue that these hapless PC manufacturers are just responding to market demand, think again
    (if, in fact, you think at all). With a stroke of a pen, Microsoft could crush Dell, or Compaq or Gateway.
    How? By raising the rate it charges each company for Windows. You wanna ship Linux? Fine, you lose
    your sweet deal on your volume Windows license. These companies have margins so tight that a few dollars
    difference in license fees could spell their death.

    Compaq steps out of line and invests in RedHat and (surprise surprise) its profits drop like a rock. Wall
    Street conveniently blames Compaq's corporate acquisitions. Meanwhile, Dell is so deep in with Microsoft,
    you can't even order a Dell with Netscape on it, no matter how nicely you ask. Tip: buy Dell stock now.
    Sell it when Linux starts beating NT in corporate use surveys (notice I didn't say "if").

    I guess you will have to sell your DELL stock quickly then:

    "Dell Computer Corporation, today announced it plans to factory-install the new Red
    Hat Linux 6.0 operating system on select, "Red-Hat Ready" certified configurations of
    its PowerEdge(R) servers, Dell Precision(tm) WorkStations and OptiPlex(R) business
    desktop computers."
  • StarOffice, being one big huge program, will allow users to do stuff like that.

    Besides, people will argue against Linux using the "drag and drop between programs" argument, but, honestly: how many people really work like that? Most Windows programs like to start maximized, leaving no area with which to manipulate the desktop, or other programs' windows. The typical user doesn't alter this behavior.

    As a result, most people still use their Windows programs in the traditional way: open program, open file, manipulate file, save file, close program.

    For the average user, a machine set up with Linux, KDE and StarOffice would not be noticably different than a Windows machine, except that it would not crash as much.

    Get your fresh, hot kernels right here []!

  • For most people, StarOffice is practially a drop-in replacement for MS Office.

    About the only thing lacking now is Quicken, QuickBooks, and *games*.

    I expect those will take another year or two. And then its on to World Domination.

    Get your fresh, hot kernels right here []!

  • He obviously attended the ZDFud school of
    "how to draw attention to your work
    by making asanine remarks about Linux."

    Let me list some *real* ways to waste time:

    1. Develop ActiveX controls

    2. Write code in MFC

    3. Use Visual J++

    4. Install Windows NT with the intent on running
    an enterprise web site.

    5. Pursue an MS certification course

    6. Use Visual C++

    ....and many other ways to waste both valuable time
    and money can be yours for just $10,999.95! That's
    right just $10,999.95 and we'll send you all
    this plus the 5 piece stainless steak knife set!!!

  • by pb ( 1020 )

    Heh. I just hope that the author can navigate the immensely complicated GUI that is slashdot, considering that it's running on one of those Linux boxes. Why don't they just switch to NT? You just *know* that NT *must* do better in large, dynamically-generated web pages, serving them to thousands upon thousands of users every day.


    Really, I don't see how a system can be more 'easy to use' when it doesn't work most of the time.
  • Lord. I hope you're being facetious. If not, get thee to a mental institution - and quick. :)
  • Yes, I know Microsoft's sole motivation is money. Not just money, mind you. Piles. Stacks. TONS of money. But it is my opinion that once a company's only motivation is money, it's outlived its usefulness. I'm not saying that companies shouldn't attempt to make money - that's a major reason such commercial entities exist. I'm just saying if they've lost all other motivation, they're not doing anyone (besids themselves) much good.

    Yes, for the general public, who are willing to put up with crashes and inconsistencies and feeling generally straitjacketed, Windows and Windows NT do okay. And getting Linux to work correctly isn't a problem. If you've done it once, it can easily be scripted so you never have to do it again. Unlike with Windows, where you've got a black box, where you can only guess at what you're doing, and if something doesn't work right, you can only dick with it till it magically starts doing what it should, or breaks in an ugly fashion.

    And no, Bill Gates isn't a genius. He's a Harvard dropout who was in the right place at the right time - mommy set him up with some friends who happened to be in the right places in IBM, he happened to run across QDOS and pick it up for a pittance. Simply timing. Since then, he's again and again proven he could market sandbags to people in the Mojave and probably sell a lot of 'em. And no, I don't think he's richer than the sultan of Brunei. (who afaik is STILL the world's richest man)
  • It's not a matter of jealousy. I do speak the truth. Microsoft may try to rewrite history after the fact, but what I said is true nonetheless. And as far as him being richer than the sultan of Brunei, I guess he must be now (considering I see 3 replies saying Billy-boy has the ol' Sultan beat now).
  • Imagine someone saying, "if you don't like the Republican government, don't join, vote or speak for the opposition; join the Republicans and improve them". (For "Republican", substitute your favourite ex-ruling party that seemed hard to beat for a while.)

    In a way similar to the establishment of "green" parties, open source became a movement because enough people want it, not merely as a better product but a better way of "doing business". That's the generational aspect the writer notices but fails to understand (and therefore resorts to mocking).

    That comment was, of course, once made towards green parties. Fortunately enough people didn't listen.
  • mosty an accurate statement, BUT

    commercial software is NOT necessarily proprietory software

    do make a distinction, redhat is quite commercial software so is gcc and so is abiword ... however they are all free software ... making software free doesn't mean not getting paid for it ...

  • >If car reviews were written like software reviews we'd be seeing
    >in-depth recommendations based solely on the quality of paint job.

    I take it you haven't seen some of those automovtive review shows that air on cable channels then?
  • I know most people will never read this, but after reading that article, I can't help but let my fingers fly and write something about what the author (Who didn't include his e-mail address, so I can't address these to him) said.

    While the article has a nice pipe-dream inspiring it, the author makes a number of fairly critical mistakes. Additionally, there are several incorrect assertions. I'm not sure if these are unintentional ignorance, or malicious attempts to spin what we're doing.

    In the article, the author asks the question "Why don't we stop development on Linux and all other alternative operating systems and concentrate on making Windows 9x / 2000 better?"

    The short answer: We can't.

    The long answer: Microsoft controls Windows with an iron fist. They add what features they want and ignore everything else. They have no economic interest in spending the additional [mb]illions of hours it would take to rummage through however many millions of lines of code Windows is up to and find the bugs that plague the system. They're raking in cash hand over fist, what would they stand to gain? Reputation? I don't think even the Microsoft Marketing Minions could pull that off.

    The author states that we don't want to because we're anti-establishment and think we have something to gain by challenging the Microsoft juggernaut. Again, he is half-right. While there is a certain element of disgust rumbling through the computer world right now, that isn't unjustified.

    I cannot count the number of times a bug in Windows or some Windows application has taken my system completely down. I have talked to literally thousands of people who have had the same thing happen. I cannot count the times I have heard people curse Windows, Microsoft, or Bill Gates directly.

    We can't fix any of those because we don't have any of the source code. We can submit bug reports or requests for features, but from experience, I know that those are pretty much ignored unless it's something someone on the development team wants. If they even make it to the development team. Many times in large corporations, they don't; someone somewhere filters them out for some reason or another.

    Why do we continue to work on Linux? Simple disenchantment with Microsoft isn't enough reason to work on a project this big. Why can't these people understand that?
  • Amongst the crap this guy spewed was this gem - describing Microsoft software as "fatware". I say if the shoe fits, wear it - it's Microsoft fatware from now on!


    How's your fatware today?
  • Right, this has irritated me for a while now. There are perfectly good apps for linux, perfectly well able to match the functionality of Office (well OK maybe not the office assistant though I hear KDE are working on it, but that's a piece of shit anyway).

    Spreadsheet: abs (look on linuxberg for it), Star Office
    Word processor: LyX (search on freshmeat), Word Perfect
    Presentation tool: Magic Point (probably find it on freshmeat)
    E-mail and news client: M, KDE's mail program etc...
    Finance package: OK, this is the one weak area I can think of (in terms of free software) though I think there have been a couple of big-name enterprise business programs ported lately
    Database: come on, this is what UNIX does best. There are loads.

  • Maybe the question should be reversely asked: why isn't Microsoft's source code (or any typical proprietary software) available freely to the world so everyone can work on it and improve it, like the way Free Software works?
  • So we all can improve Microsoft products, without source, without complete API's, and then we can have the priveledge of purchasing the fruit of our labor? Good plan. Maybe re-inventing the wheel is only sane thing when the wheel is square.
    Also, I would submit Microsoft re-invented the wheel first, DOS wasn't the best solution at the time, just the one that IBM threw thier weight behind due to convenience and some arcane back room deal. Here is to Linux, Round wheels, Free Software, and doing it right.

  • Or, as the man used to say, "You can't polish a turd."
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product
  • " . . . especially when that turd is locked in a safe."
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product
  • I don't think he did a whole lot of research into programming practices. There are reasons that Windows 2000 is reaching an insane number of code lines and why people feel the need to reinvent the wheel. When people keep adding features to programs (for this example, we'll use Windows), they get bloated software with tons of features that were available in previous versions but have been obsoleted by newer functions. Thus, you get a word processor that's almost as big as an operating system (and I'm not talking about emacs here) and software that takes many more resources than it should.

    Enter the 'yoot'. They have free time and excellent motivations, namely, making things work better. They decide to simply "reinvent the wheel", rather than trying to port the current one or add more features to it. Code comes out cleaner, smaller, and with the same features that people actually need and use. I think we only need to look at the Mozilla project to see this in action. Sure, it's taking a long time to get the project out the door, but damn, what they're producing is slick, fast, and still has the same features as its predecessor.

    The problem with the Microsoft wheel is it's really big and it's really flat. People are "reinventing" it because it needs to be. It's not working; it's not rolling along. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm for redefining the status quo can't be found in the old codgers in corporate America, it has to come from us 'yoots'.

    I don't fault the author, though. He /is/ over twice my age. :)
  • I don't know if you've noticed this yet, but is filled with advertising.

    Obviously part of the reason for placing these articles on slashdot is to encourage more hits on the slashdot web site as well.

    I doubt the Chicago Tribune could care less, personally. Their job is to sell newspapers, which they do quite well. The web site is purely secondary.
  • I disagree. When I'm trying to get something to work in a program, I like being able to make a small change, press ctrl-f9 to run the program to test it out, return to the IDE window, make another change, press ctrl-f9 to test it again, etc. Switching back and forth from emacs and a CLI to manually compile something is not nearly as fun or expedient.

    Hmm...I do that all the time whether it's for cli, curses, or X programs. I can edit, compile, and debug programs without ever leaving emacs. While running gdb in one emacs window, I have the code that is currently being debugged in another, with an arrow showing the current line the debugger is on. I can even set break points in the source window. It certainly does everything that I would ever use an IDE for.

  • the author of this article or the fact that Micropuff's *resources* should be helping fund Linux Developer's efforts?
  • That's what I love about you crazy Yanks, you've no sense of irony! I think the 'holier than thou', 'Linux rules', 'Microsoft is evil', 'we must slay the naysayers' attitude is just another manifestation of what makes America great, your complete lack of a sense of humour! PS: ;-)
  • Coates is usually a pretty good computer beat writer, given that he admits he is not a propeller head, and his audience is the general PC user, not the expert. He is usually pretty good at explaining the what & why to non-techies, and he has taken unstable/unreliable software to task on more than one occasion.

    So I think it is worth putting some more thought into why he decided to submit this column. Does he really believe what he said? If so, why? Is he saying something we should be listening to? If he doesn't believe what he said, why did he print it? Is he trying to generate flames for an "I told you so" column?

    I confess I have no good insight myself. I am just a bit curious as to what his agenda is/was.

  • "One of those pieces of GNU (or at least GPL'd) software that's older than NT is ... Linux"

    Not to mention VMS - I remember a lot of VAX VMS machines on the 'net in the old days. I think it would have been kind of difficult for the VMS team to have released NT before they finished with VMS and decamped for Microsoft. Maybe that's why Bill hired them though ;-).

  • I'll be brief- you're right.

    And I agree, WE SHOULD NOT BE GIVING THIS CLOWN ANYTHING. He wrote this as a (f)lametroll- he really did. And he shouldn't be given the gratification of the roasting he richly deserves from it because it'll just give him ammo to use against us further.
  • This guy would be called a (f)lametroll on USENET- it's no different when the tripe's spewed on a newspaper or magazine. It's an Op-Ed piece- and as such is beneath our consideration considering how at odds this clown is with reality. Don't bother sending him anything. If you feel a response is needed- let's all come up with a reasoned one, put it up on the WWW, and then send an e-mail to the Chicago Tribune telling them where our response is with full permission to re-print with attributions.

    This tripe that graced the Tribune's pages and web site is nothing more than more FUD mongering- and the truth is the best weapon against the FUD.
  • Believe it or not, there are people who use Linux because they find it to be the most efficient way to do what they need to do. If you like to use Microsoft products, fine (and, for many people, Microsoft products _are_ good enough). Just don't get in a snit because people prefer Linux over _your_ particular brand of operating system.

    By the way, Craftsman is a Sears brand. FYI
  • Improving vacuum tubes? I prefer to call these devices as valves, or electron valves, but never the equivalent of Windows Technology. You might have one of these gems in your house if you have a microwave. Powerful TWT tubes can be used for radar jamming in "peace keeping missions." Many hams and audiophiles prefer these square law devices to power radio transmitters and receivers. They are state of the art in electron control. Linux is the art of software and logic control. Please do not compare valves to Windows!
  • I decided to think up a response that was equally as intelligent as your article: Fuck you.

    Yuck. Bad word. That is what a parent would tell a child. Fuck is not a good word and procreation is not a good idea in this case. Windows programmers should not have the ability to spawn and father children.
  • >> Sell it when Linux starts beating NT in corporate use surveys (notice I didn't say "if").

    I guess you will have to sell your DELL stock quickly then:

    Yes, yes, we've all read that "Dell plans to ship Linux." This isn't the event I mentioned, but let's pretend that your reading comprehension issn't severely impaired and I actually did say "sell when Dell offers Linux."

    Dell is broken up into several divisions. They are strongly bound now, but diverging. Dell may be publicly announcing that they are offering Linux, but when, where and how? Will Linux even be mentioned on its online store? That's Dell Online, the second most profitable web site in the world and the highest-availability channel for buying Dell computers.

    A lot of companies are offering Linux, but so far it's been to corporate clients through their corporate sales. It's almost impossible to get a consumer machine loaded with Linux, even from people who claim to support it. My point stands; this situation is just a bit more complex than I laid it out.

  • Truth? You are all jealous of Bill and his ideas. He makes money because the VAST MAJORITY like his products.

    News Flash: The Vast Majority(tm) didn't decide either way.

    "Like" implies favor. Favor implies choice. For most users, choice does not exist.

    Perhaps you just emerged from a deep freeze, or your mom just let you on the Internet last week, so I'll fill you in on some news stories covered in depth here and... well, everywhere.

    First of all, it's been well documented that you can't buy a PC from a major brand unless it has Windows on it. This includes IBM PC's and IBM makes OS/2, one of Window's supposed rivals. Have you ever heard someone say,"When the sales guy at Gateway asked me which OS I wanted, I chose Windows, because it's the best." No, you haven't and you never will, because no Gateway sales rep is going to ask that question. Some major brands have announced that they'll "ship Linux," but only Compaq seems to be doing anything. Go to Compaq's website, however and they tell you how to get Linux from RedHat -- to install on top of the copy of Windows that they'll install on your machine.

    Of course, you shouldn't have to pay for that copy, because the Windows End User License Agreement (EULA) says that you can get your money back if you refuse the license. Just try. Many have, only a few have succeeded after months and months of trying.

    Before you argue that these hapless PC manufacturers are just responding to market demand, think again (if, in fact, you think at all). With a stroke of a pen, Microsoft could crush Dell, or Compaq or Gateway. How? By raising the rate it charges each company for Windows. You wanna ship Linux? Fine, you lose your sweet deal on your volume Windows license. These companies have margins so tight that a few dollars difference in license fees could spell their death.

    Compaq steps out of line and invests in RedHat and (surprise surprise) its profits drop like a rock. Wall Street conveniently blames Compaq's corporate acquisitions. Meanwhile, Dell is so deep in with Microsoft, you can't even order a Dell with Netscape on it, no matter how nicely you ask. Tip: buy Dell stock now. Sell it when Linux starts beating NT in corporate use surveys (notice I didn't say "if").

    Get over it and work for Microsoft. Wait, you cant can you - your still in school.

    Well, I, for one, haven't been in school for a long time. They let me out once I finally mastered the difference between "your" and "you're." I've turned down several invitations to work there and I'll turn down any more that come my way.

    Microsoft is teetering. When it falls, it will fall hard. When IBM screws up, it still has a dozen other legs on the ground, but Microsoft is nowhere near as large and diverse as IBM. When Windows 2000 turns out to be a dud (notice I didn't say "if"), then Microsoft's one and only leg will buckle and the giant will stumble.

  • Chicago is where the PR firm that M$ used for its infamous AstroTurf campaign is located. Could the same firm be pumping its local press contacts full of this kind of FUD? "Resistance is futile." - well known evil robot war cry. But fortunatly for Free Software, "Persistence is fertile." - gbs.
  • ...written by hackers and students...

    Hmmm, does anyone have a reference to this which can be cited properly? I find it very interesting, since surely that's just how Bill started out. *sigh*.

  • Speaking as both a sysadmin and a computer journalist, I feel obliged to yell a small protest at that last comment.

    I was a geek first, then got into writing freelance features on computing subjects. I have written (positively, I believe) on Linux, open source software and crypto-issues for the UK IT press and have always tried to give a fair representation of those topics.

    But then again, no major software companies have ever left jiffy bags full of unmarked bills on my doorstep, so perhaps I am the exception. :-)

    It is easy to see that non-geeks (or certainly, non-programmers) might not see the point behind OSS and be confused by the idea that after trying to unify standards and improve user interfaces for the last ten years, we are now being asked to use another OS with an antidiluvian command line and no 'a:' drive.

    The fact that these 'standards' have been achieved at the expense of consumer choice is not a consideration for most users, and is unlikely to be until they are shown a workable alternative.

    If you are serious about wanting decent coverage of Linux, etc. then your time would be better spent giving journalists the information they need, rather than flaming them.

  • Yeah I hate toolbars too. I wish I had the code for MS Word 4 - that was the last thing they made that was actually good. I'd give my left arm, or at least my crummy copy of Word98 for an up to date copy of Word 4.

    Anyhow, I suspect that there's going to be some trouble with extensible interfaces. Having done a good bit of HTML design, I suspect that there are two schools of design. The first codes to specific browsers and uses tables, etc. for exact positioning. The second is more abstract, with use of CSS and other standards for layout that can be interpreted differently, but without obfuscating the content.

    An extensible interface that was anything more than changing the colors of the existing interface would have to be VERY abstract. Especially if fundemental parts of the interface changed (like changing icons back from nouns to verbs - could be useful, I dunno)

    A very difficult thing to work up a standard for, much less convince people to design for (in adherence). I suggest reading the Apple Human Interface Guidelines book, as well as Tog on Interface. Both very handy sources of information for this sort of thing (there are lots of others, but those two stand out)

  • "Maybe re-inventing the wheel is only sane thing when the wheel is square."

    LOL! I think I may have to repeat that.
  • Minutes? Hah. On a small box perhaps.

    Try seeing what happens when your raid-5 (hardware or software) gets shutdown uncleanly. Say, 50gig? 100gig? Thats SMALL, folks... so why does it take hours to bring linux back up?

    It's being worked on, but let's not cite vaporware, thats a Micros~1 trick. When the raid cleaning + filesystem check for a half terr finishes in a matter of minutes, go ahead and trumpet it. But until then, anyone who knows better will happily correct you, and make linux look bad in the process.

    Of course, on the bright side, Linux dosn't crash often enough to make this a concern. But when it does, it takes quite a while to recover.


  • Whether the stuff reporters put out is !@#$ or not, we must read it and check it, becuase if we start ignoring all anti-Linux/Unix/OSS/FSF/etc, we'll miss an article where they bring up an important issue worth addressing.
  • here's the URL w/o the extra space (i.e. so it should work now, although most of you probably got it anyway)-- Linux_vs_NT.html

    and many thanks, "anarchist," for citing my page-- I'm incredibly flattered!

  • i loved the opening lines of this article, i could only laugh, and i though that this must be a put-on. the sad part is that it isn't, the guy actually thinks this way. the end is especially telling:

    Whatever the merits Linux might offer the highly technical specialists who use it to administer Internet servers or use turbo-charged text commands to perform complex file transfers, Linux currently offers mighty slim pickings for ordinary computer users


    Meanwhile, billions of human hours have been spent writing the amazing applications that run on the Windows and Macintosh platforms.


    Meanwhile, they would have us reinvent the wheel by wasting billions more hours creating applications to take advantage of Linux and make Torvalds' colleagues at Linux software houses like Red Hat Inc. and Caldera Systems Inc. rich.

    To insinuate that Linux programmers are evil just because they make money off of it, yet to in the same breath exclude MS is incredulus. then he goes on to say that Linux is _forcing_ prople to rewrite apps for is is to completely overlook both Linux's standard Unix portability and ignore MS's history on the issue. who makes us completely rewrite every app every two or three years because they develop a new *standard.* Throw in some FUD about Linux being hard to use, and some more about how it's not *real* UNIX. Then he says that the internet was working well on NT before Linux was even thought of. I think some more fact checking is in order. i tried, but i couldn't find even _one_ correct fact in that article. if the guy wasn't serious, i'd be laughing my a** off.
  • The fact of the matter is that Open Source is new and different, but yet it's not. It is something of a hybrid of capitalism and communism, something which has been founded in academic circles for years, a competition by sharing things. If you don't like it do it yourself, or help me. I don't need to lecture you on the feature of OSS, you know what it is. On one hand many people think that the GNU people, namely RMS are communists, yet they are the ones who are opening up this market to competition, something it's been almost devoid of for 10-15 years. RMS _is_ a *pinko*, and ESR _is_ a capitalist. That's why I loved the article's position that Linux is evil because some people want to make money with it at Bill Gate's expense. It is, yet, it isn't.

    Reid G. Ormseth, Esq.
  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Sunday April 25, 1999 @07:31PM (#1917087) Homepage Journal

    In the Binary Beat Article for 4/25/99, James Coates advocated further Windows development over use of Linux. I wish to respond to certain points within his article:

    1. Bill Gates isn't a monster.

      We never said he was. He's a business man, and a damn good one.

      The complaints more have are areas where the PRODUCTS he sells are lacking. This is where alternatives like Unix, MacOS, and yes Linux, come in.

    2. Mr. Coates refers to Linux as weak and application starved.

      Has he ever utilized Linux? There are more applications showing up for Linux each and every day. There are CHOICES about what you use as well, as there isn't much choice with Windows.

      Multiple desktop control programs. Multiple webservers, multiple database and productivity packages. Guess what, most of them are FREE.

      How about graphic manipulation? For high end stuff you need to go burn a couple hundred bucks for a copy of Adobe Photoshop. The GIMP come free with Linux.

      Weak? You're apparently referring to that study done that "proves" NT is 2-4 times faster as a file and web server than Linux is. What you haven't heard, or have ignored, is that Microsoft paid for a study proving that NT was faster.

      That's what they got. A highly tuned (both hardware and software-wise) NT server is FAR faster as a file and web server than the base install (with poor tuning) of RedHat Linux.

      In addition, a good deal of software from corporate *NIX environments can be ported into Linux with little more than a recompile. I'd like to see many of the NT applications ported to Windows 9*.

      Also, I shall sound the "STABILITY" horn again. Yes, under some application NT is a fairly stable and solid OS. Unfortunately we have YET to see reports of an NT box coming close to the STANDARD uptimes reported by Linux. Also, downtime on NT boxes is measured in hours and days. Linux? Minutes.

    3. These gloriously anti-establishmentarian crowds swarmed over young Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, whose anti-Microsoft pronouncements started to sound like some kind of call for jihad.

      As with any other issue out there, you have people who tend to take their positions to an ultimate extreme. Similar to the touted Mac-Zealotry.

      Do not judge an entire community by thos few who must scream that Linux will eventually replace the toothbrush, the car, etc. A goodly portion of the Linux community are merely people who prefer using Linux to other OS's and don't particularly care about political/social rammifications.

    4. Personal complaints about the "self riteousness of Linus Torvalds".

      This can be viewed in the same vein as "Bill Gates is a Monster". And what does your age have to do with you not liking him?

    5. They chafe at the fact that most of us are prisoners of the Microsoft model, working in jobs where the Windows desktop has become our home away from home and where our daily bread is earned working in Word, Excel, Access, Outlook and other Microsoft software.

      That's, again, a case of painting the entire community with the same, broad stroke. There are people out there, Torvalds included, who do not CARE what you use. Simply that there are options for themselves and others.

      At his pre-Comdex Q&A at Fermilab, he was asked about gaming on the Linux platform. He recommended Windows as a gaming platform.

    6. Best of all, the open source code that makes up Linux is free of charge.....

      No, the best part about open-source code is that if it doesn't work, you can CHANGE it so it does work. The same cannot be said in the Microsoft Programming Model.

    7. Linux runs on maybe 7 million machines, and in many cases those are machines at places where the majority of stuff is done the Microsoft way and the Linux machines are a minority.

      This is pure speculation on your part. About the only way most people find out they're running Linux is if they ask their networking admins. Usually, if it isn't crashing people have no reason to ask. This makes any REAL assay of Linux penetration very, very difficult.

    8. Sometimes St. George can be a pain in the tail that should just go away.

      The only problem with this view is, it eliminates choice. I'm sure there's a lot of little tin-pot dictators in this world that would LOVE for the US to "just go away" so that they wouldn't have to answer for their abuse of the civilian population.

      Also, competition is GOOD. Do you REALLY want to have to go back to paying $300 for your operating system?

    9. Whatever the merits Linux might offer the highly technical specialists who use it to administer Internet servers or use turbo-charged text commands to perform complex file transfers, Linux currently offers mighty slim pickings for ordinary computer users.

      Actually this has been an issue within the Linux community for several years now. The only place where Linux has little support is in the Gaming market. There are several professional-level office productivity packages out there (one of which is Word Perfect). There are multiple choices for a desktop interface (you only need to use command line if you want to).

      There are even applications for Linux that allow you to run Windows inside a window if you MUST have Microsoft Office or your game-du-jour.

      Slim pickings? Hardly.

    10. While Canada's Corel Corp. has ported a version of its WordPerfect software for Linux, the sad reality is that the great bulk of software that people can actually run on Linux is just as home-brewed as is the Linux operating system itself.

      I think a small lesson is needed here. Microsoft's beginnings were every bit as "home brew" as a good deal of the Linux-based code. DOS (which Microsoft BOUGHT (not programmed) for a couple grand) was initially written as QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System).

      QDOS was really only meant as a program for testing Intel-based hardware. Some of the major problems in Windows-based programs are STILL directly traceable to insufficiencies in QDOS.

      Also, home-brew isn't necessarily BAD. These days, the people are very concerned about the stability of the product (as the developers are running it on their own systems, not a box paid for by their employer that can be replaced if it takes a dive).

      Also, with the projects staying in a more personal sphere of development, it is usually far easier to gain tech support and report bugs than it is with a closed system such as Microsoft. Microsoft bug fixes come at random, multi-month intervals. Linux can, if the user desires or requires, be updated almost every day.

      As for the lack of features implied by "home brewed". I have yet to suffer from any such perceived lack.

    11. Meanwhile, billions of human hours have been spent writing the amazing applications that run on the Windows and Macintosh platforms.

      Time spent on a project doesn't make it any more or less home-brew. Since Linux' inception approximately 8 years ago, roughly 70,125 hours have passed. Let's say 1/3 of this has been spent developing just the kernel of Linux. That's over 23 thousand hours. Realistically only maybe 1/2 of this is time spent doing viable work. So 12.5 thousand hours.

      That's probably less than the amount of time Linus Torvalds has spent working on Linux (by himself). Take into account all the people working on various projects and you have several million hours of development time. And in only 8 years. Right now they're beyond the point Windows was at in 1995.

    12. The Internet was working swell on traditional Unix, Macintosh and Windows NT before Linux was much more than a glimmer in Linus' eye, and it will work better whether or not the true believers pull off a miracle and slay the dragon.

      Okay. I can accept the Unix part. As for Mac and NT? NT was barely beta in 1991. MacOS was NOT being utilized server-side. That's not it's role.

      Will Unix work better? Look at the Unix philosophy. Tailor the environment to what you wish to do. So YES. Unix will work better. For NT? Yes. It'll work better with about 10 times the hardware.

    13. Meanwhile, they would have us reinvent the wheel by wasting billions more hours creating applications to take advantage of Linux and make Torvalds' colleagues at Linux software houses like Red Hat Inc. and Caldera Systems Inc. rich.

      Perhaps if the wheel and been invented square it too would have needed to be reinvented. And what waste? So long as we don't HAVE to take a DEFAULT, it's worth it.

      In addition, I don't think the people at Caldera or RedHat are getting rich off Linux. Making money? Yes. But a large chunk of the money they make is poured right back into development. Linux distributions have their place. They are the people that assemble, test, and distribute complete systems to use, as opposed to searching the internet for each and every desired package.

      Also, you complain that we're making them rich. Why make Bill Gates rich(er)? You, yourself are now "demonizing" people for making money in the computer industry.

    Linux is about choices.

    Is it for everyone? No.

    Are we trying to push Linux on everone? No.

    Thank you for your time.
    Charles Borner

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • Micros~1 has wasted billions of lifetimes of otherwise happy people rebooting their crap OS. They should be held accountable - for manslaughter!
  • When Rob links to idiots like this, he should simply inform tham that they've been linked to slashdot, and that they may read opinions of their article at slashdot, and could remind /.'ers that they don't need to flame-mail the guy since he already knows where to get his flames.

    This would save bandwidth.
  • by edgy ( 5399 )

    I use Linux as my desktop. I've got a web browser, productivity software that's constantly improving, and my computer never crashes.

    When I go into windows, I feel handicapped.

    I think with teh coming of Caldera 2.2 and other "newbie" distros, we're going to see a much broader desktop market infiltration.
  • is that it will take a long time for the thousands and thousands of apps (that even the mac has let alone windows) to come to linux. And that's a good point until you realize that your choice in Windows apps may be threatened by MS. Want another word processor like Lotus or Corel? Tough-MS Word is the standard. Want a choice in financial software? Right now there's Quicken and MS Money but don't be surprised if MS finds a way to kill Quicken too. If MS makes an app, that probably means that you won't be able to as well. Linux is more than another unix. It's a unix that's winning. It's a unix whose users really try hard (_try_ is the operative word here) to make easier to use. And people are finally paying attention to it.
  • Coates on Microsoft:

    "...prisoners of the Microsoft model..."
    "... 50 million lines of bulky and balky code, bloated top-secret fatware that can crash out of the blue and that only works the way Microsoft wants it to work."
    "...$89...for Windows 98...upwards of $300 that a box of office strength Windows 2000 can cost."

    Coates on Linux:

    "...2.5 million lines (at most) of highly flexible, free-to-use and free-to-modify software that almost never crashes and that works any way a programmer cares to make it work."

    ", crash proof, flexible, (and) lean..."

    "...the product of a ... man every bit as technologically adroit... as Gates ever was."

    Multiple personality disorder maybe?

  • Hackers and students. Weren't there a couple of guys named Gates and Allen years ago who were sort of in this category who were trying to start a software company? Should be obvious from their rapid descent into obscurity that ahckers and students will never produce anything with a future.

  • Moneydance. Requires the JDK which of course you can get from if you don't already have it. I used xacc for awhile, now that's become GnuCash, which might amount to something in a few years. :)

    Slow, but that's mostly my of the better Java apps I've seen.

    Get it here:

  • From the limited experience that I have in the workplace, it seems that most of these "old-farts" (who I envision as ~45+) are just as enthusiastic about Linux as us young folks. In some cases, even more so!

    The problem is that in many cases, these people are middle-management. They make decisions that will affect your life.

    You have a decent point here. One of the reason's we didn't end up deploying Linux more often, was because it was different, and perceived as a "toy" OS, lacking features/stability that other well established (eg. Solaris) Unices offered. This was a headache for me for quite a while.

    The managers wanted a "Real Unix Sysadmin" for our desktop Linux boxes. I countered "Well, then why don't I have a 'Real NT Sysadmin' for my NT machine? I have more problems with that than my Linux box!"

    All he could say was that upper management demanded it. Luckily the Unix sysadmin is a great guy, and only logged in once or twice. But giving him root made management happy, so go figure.

    The solution to making management happy?
    We used Linux under the table where managers didn't notice, because it always worked, just like countless other people out there.

  • Something which should be pointed out to the author (which I have done via private email, in as polite a manner as possible) is that the billions of programming hours put into Windows programs hasn't been anywhere near as efficient as Free Software promises to be.

    By his own logic, companies shouldn't bother to compete, because we only really need one application to fill every niche. Anything else is wasteful of effort, right?

    Free Software efforts tend to naturally select the most promising alternative(s) and focus programming effort on those. Programmers are free to borrow and share code as the license permits, making their projects develop at a staggering pace.

    We may have already invested billions of programmer hours into Windows software, but if so, it's been a losing investment. At worst, Free Software fails to capture the mainstream market to any significant degree. Most of these programmers wouldn't (happily) code on a Microsoft platform anyway.

    Ian Peters
  • I'm glad to see some calmer heads in this discussion. I agree, flaming this guy is, at best, a waste of effort, and at worst, playing right into what he wants.

    In large part, I agree with your breakdown of points for/against the GNU/Linux system. Where I have problems, though, is the slant he approaches this with. I think most of us understand current weaknesses with our operating system of choice. And steps are being taken to address it. KDE a very polished, useable desktop. GNOME, to which I contribute time and code (albeit not as much as I'd like!), is already impressive looking, if not as polished as KDE. Just the other day, I was playing with AbiWord, since it had been a while since I'd last looked, and was amazed by how far it has come. We're not there yet, but lots of people are trying.

    The problem, for me, is his assertion that we're squandering valuable resources by trying. I have to ask myself what this man's point was in writing this article. It certainly isn't constructive to tell someone "Hey, your dinky little operating system is no good! Quit playing around right now and fall in line!", without making anything approaching a cogent argument. This isn't even very effective FUD, because it's so obviously biased.

    Certainly, there are valuable messages we can take from this article, but these aren't new messages. The Free Software community, as a group, is a pretty smart bunch, and there are well-written articles in the mainstream press (maybe not as many as we'd like ...) which address the shortcomings of GNU/Linux already.

    Ian Peters
  • by craw ( 6958 ) on Sunday April 25, 1999 @06:09PM (#1917102) Homepage
    This article is written from the perspective (and experience?) of the "average" older computer user. I have seen this type of person in the workplace many times. Here's their profile.

    About 10-15 yrs ago, they are forced to switch from his typewriter to a PC; they hated it. Over time, they painstakingly gain experience with the crap from Redmond. Now they are in their comfort zone; scared to death that they might be forced to learn something new. These people, if they are mediocre, feel threatened by their youthful co-workers who are extremely productive and capable of doing things that they can't. Too young to retire, too old to start anything new.

    The problem is that in many cases, these people are middle-management. They make decisions that will affect your life.
  • by thingy ( 8326 )
    I agree that we shouldn't feed the fire but maybe an article or two of the latests comparisons with orcal and the survey from last week that reported that nt was used on non mission critical servers. There was a lot of coverage of the mindcraft article i think it was on cnet but non of the following surveys/tests that showed linux was better was there.

    I do think that the IT managers have to be shown that linux is a great server operating system and that it beats out nt show them what apps they get (server end) and maybe it will help IT managers serch for better servers. Lets face it it's not the peons that wrote this article and the many like it that run the world it is the decision makers that have to be proven which operation system is better.

    Every article that bashes linux that goes main stream will help show IT managers that Linux is bad. For every article written about Linux that doesn't go main stream will show the programmers of the world which one is better (and we already know which one is better).
  • > He doesn't realize that a lot of the GNU software is older than Linux itself, and older than NT.

    One of those pieces of GNU (or at least GPL'd) software that's older than NT is ... Linux.

    The column was just so much flamebait to spike the hitcount. Had it even a smidgen of editing, fact-checking (see timeline note above), or even issues of substance, I might have thought otherwise. All we did was make the Tribune happy with the hitcount. People don't read articles fawning over Linux as much as they read articles that are critical of it. The demographics beancounters checking the hitcounts and the referer logs know this.
  • The Internet was working swell on traditional Unix, Macintosh and Windows NT before Linux was much more than a glimmer in Linus' eye, and it will work better whether or not the true believers pull off a miracle and slay the dragon.

    It seems that the author doesn't really know what runs the Internet. NT and Linux are roughly the same age, within a year or two. It has not been until very recently that NT was even used as a server on the Internet. It has mainly been larger Unix servers and as of the last few years, Linux servers.

    As many have stated previously, this is pretty much a troll, probably intended to get this reporters name on the map and get hits generated for his papers website. It's people like this that have gotten the corportate computing world into the mess that it is in.
  • by Vesperi ( 10991 ) on Sunday April 25, 1999 @05:37PM (#1917130) Homepage

    This is an excellent example of common reporting practice - in any field.

    The name of the game is "Pick the opposit to current thinking" - the trick is if you turn out right - you get herold as a genuis down the road.

    When 9 out of 10 times it falls flat on it's face as the pice of tripe it usualy is, most just ignore you and move on. No reall loss.

    I especially love the cicular logic "There arn't any "good" applications ( read MS branded ) avalible, therefore it's a waste of time to write for the platform"

    I'd love to research and see how many people said the same thing about the choice of windows/mac vs dos programs. Games bring this to mind the most, for years even up to win95 era, games were dos based.

    As with all things, it's not applications that will make any platform or operating system - it's the avalibility of games.

    Game development has been the driving force behind faster cpu's for years, and with the current vendor community turn around to linux - it's going to drive home linux as a consumer operating system.

    Nothing in windows or the latest intel proccessor lets you do "basic office tasks" such as write letters and spread sheads any faster in terms of real use then the old dos programs of the 80s gave us.

    What let Billy and thirdparty people the room to give us "feature bloat" was due to gamers pushing the envelope. Now with ID shipping quake shrink wraped for linux, games will be the "killer app" (pun noted).

    Some say that without a single entity behind it, linux will flownder under it's own hype - but looks at IBM and os/2 - we don't have one company to crap it up - only capable of holding still long enough to shoot themselvs in the foot - and the community in the head.
    James Michael Keller

  • by Mr Debug ( 11822 ) on Sunday April 25, 1999 @09:28PM (#1917134)
    I'd tend to disagree with the hypothesis that this article was written as flamebait in order to hike up the hit count. While there may be an element of truth, atrocious articles like these are not doing the credibility of Chicago Tribune any favours in the long term.

    While a pro-Microsoft stance may be a feasible journalistic position, phrases like "Harumph!" and "Sure da yoot are frustrated" and blind MS praise do the author's and paper's credibility no favours. Neither does the suggestion that Linux "rebels" take up a more conformist position wash very well. But what really puts the icing on the cake is the insinuation that RedHat and co are evil because they are trying make money, this flat bang in the middle of a pro-MS article. You'd think that MS is a large charitable benevolent institution or a public service.

    As a 21 year old I find the whole conformist attitude extremely patronising as well as fundamentally flawed (you don't make footprints in the sands of time by sitting down). In fact I believe that even educated Windows users, (yes, they do exist) who acknowledge that MS software isn't perfect, would agree that this article is badly written and that the supression of new ideas is no sound long term strategy. Honestly, this article ought to be taken out and shot ;-)

    Personally this is the only article out of the Chicago Tribune I've ever seen (there may be more but I've forgotten a few) and it's not really a good advertisement for the newspaper in general. Reading this does not entice me to spend any more time trawling through the rest of the newspaper in search of better reading material. Unless the average Chicago Tribune reader is a moron (a distinct possibility) the Tribune ought to, for their own sake, get a better writer.

    nb: It's probably best to refrain from writing to the author unless you feel like taking the time to compose polite, polished, well written and factual response. Otherwise he'll be writing about those power-freaked linux "youths" bent on world domination and making money (shock horror!) and flaming anyone who is pro-MS (as opposed to just him).
  • by Compay ( 12102 ) on Sunday April 25, 1999 @07:44PM (#1917137) Homepage

    This article utilizes one of the most blatantly false means of argumentation commonly found in the press today, which I call "argumentation by personification," since I don't know if there's an accepted term for it.

    This type of argument involves putting up a person as a representative of a concept you dislike, and then ridiculing this person to convince people to share your view. Here's an example:

    "...young Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, whose anti-Microsoft pronouncements started to sound like some kind of call for jihad."

    What does this have to say about the Linux operating system? Nothing at all, really. It's just a subjective way to say that Linus was strongly criticising Microsoft.

    A more insidious way (frequently used by MS) to use this argument tactic is to not openly ridicule your subject, but paint a reasonable picture of them that is however, somehow flawed:

    "It's very easy (and pretty accurate as well) to cast Torvalds in the role of a St. George jousting with the dragon of Microsoft... but I need to tell you that sometimes its OK to root for the dragon."

    So here we go. Linux Torvalds (whoops... I mean _Linus_) is an arrogant, youthfully ignorant and violent little guy. Therefore, you should not use the Linux operating system, but "root" for an operating system conceded to be inferior and backed by a corporate "dragon."

    You find the same nefarious arguments in scandal sheets like Newsweek, which recently published on their cover a spectral, corpse-like photo of the Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, next to the words "The face of evil." NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia is often referred to as "bombing Milosevic." As far as I have heard, however, Milosevic's house has not been the target of any bombs.

    It's obviously in the interest of the US government and the large corporations to distract people from the fact that most of the people dying as a result the bombing campaign in the Balkans are not war criminals, but ordinary civilians. If the press focused on this fact, there might be a lot more outrage about what is happening there and has happened in places like Iraq (Saddam Hussein), Panama (Manuel Noriega), Japan (Hito) and Germany (Hitler), to name just a few places that were bombed by the US this century and personified by the press in an effort to garner support for the bombings. [1]

    Coates should not be believed when he states that

    "...[programmers] would have us reinvent the wheel by wasting billions more hours creating applications to take advantage of Linux and make Torvalds' colleagues at Linux software houses like Red Hat Inc. and Caldera Systems Inc. rich..."
    because he insinuates that professional organizations like Red Hat "Inc." and Caldera Systems "Inc." are quaint, unprofessional "software houses" that are simultaniously scheming, wheedling corporate entities trying to get rich by using Torvalds. The imagry is unsupported and uninformative.

    I don't wish to condemn Coates's article entirely: he does state the true (but obvious) point that Linux lacks the huge number of software titles that have made Windows so successful. That's a really powerful argument, and I for one will not urge anyone to switch to Linux until it has AOL, Seinfeld screensavers and talking paperclips. [2]

    [1] I make no judgements here whether any of these bombings were justifiable. The relevant fact is, that in each case, the US press personified the countries as identical to their leaders.
    [2] Which, of course, is an example of the same tactic I'm criticizing Coates for.

  • True dat.

    Coates occasionally says sensible things, but any geek should stay away from his answer column, where he weekly tells people to reinstall this or that Winwhateverware. He's a Mac user who started out doing computer reporting by bragging about how neat it was to keep AOL running all the time on one's desktop -- conveniently forgetting that he was a Tribune reporter who got a free account, while at that time, most AOL users would have paid about $500/month for the same privilege.

    The guy also suggesting stopping spam by politely writing to the spammer and asking him to desist. (He also gave a clueless definition of the origin of the term "spam".) I enlightened him with the URLs of several spam-fighting pages, asking why he hadn't done a simple web search on spam-fighting technique, and he brushed me off. The man simply doesn't care that people have already solved some of these questions ... he seems to get his advice from mailing lists and asking individuals who may be as or more clueless than he.
  • by Fizgig ( 16368 ) on Sunday April 25, 1999 @05:30PM (#1917158)
    He has the quote: "The Internet was working swell on traditional Unix, Macintosh and Windows NT before Linux was much more than a glimmer in Linus' eye". But he fails to realize that the internet was running on Unix before NT was a glimmer in Bill Gate's eye. And it's using the same software that Linux is using. He doesn't realize that a lot of the GNU software is older than Linux itself, and older than NT.

    Also, how are we supposed to be "making nice with da dragon" if the dragon doesn't let us? What are supposed to channel our efforts into, poking at Word with a dissassembler? We're not allowed to make Windows any less abominable. It's not wasted effort. It's effort that would otherwise not have bene made towards much of anything.

    I get the feeling he wrote it to get Slashdotted, as he realizes that everyone will hate him and sent him nasty emails. I'm not going to satisfy him. All he wants is for a few hundred of us to send threatening emails so he can confirm his belief that we're all ultra-liberal hippies.
  • For some reason everytime I read somehting by this guy it annoys me. Just last monday he was praising linux.

    Though this time atleast he knows he's going to annoy me.

    What I'm wondering did the fact ther MS does not make the source code for its software available to us slip his mind?

    Perhaps if we COULD spend our time improving microsoft products, some of us would. Perhaps if this possibility was open to us those products would be more stable. Perhaps if MS's code was available we wouldn't have to "reinvent the wheel."

    speaking of venting. I'll stop now. But I do have a few questions.

    He quotes linux runs on "Maybe 7 Million" machines. Is close to accurate? I don't even know.

    He also quotes that Linux is at most 2.5 million lines of code. How many lines of code is windows? And if we are going to compare on lines of code between windows and Linux shouldn't we also include the number of lines of code in X, KDE, and Gnome?

    And if we went through all that trouble. What value would it be?

  • NT 3.1 was released in 1991. Development was rumoured to effectively have begun in 1987. Linus didn't start development until 1991, and didn't "release" anything to anyone until 1993.

    Perhaps you may find thi interesting. This is from the Microsoft Museum Timeline []

    Microsoft Launches Windows NT at Windows World

    05/24/93 Microsoft formally launches Microsoft Windows NT at Windows World in Atlanta. Windows NT delivers a powerful, reliable and open platform for client-server solutions - business applications ranging from inventory management to sales automation to financial analysis. It can also scale to meet the user's increasing processing needs because it has no internal system constraints on resources and provides consistent support for Intel, RISC and multiprocessor systems. It is scheduled to be released in 60 days.

    and this, from []

    Linus had an interest in Minix, a small UNIX system, and decided to develop a system that exceeded the Minix standards. He began his work in 1991 when he released version 0.02 and worked steadily until 1994 when version 1.0 of the Linux Kernel was released.

    Having used NT 3.1 extensively, I can assure you that it was rushed and felt very beta. However, Linux .02 was released in 1991 and hit 1.0 in 1994. It spent a lot of time in development in between, but it was mostly stable from the get-go.

    BTW, it took me longer to type this than to find these sources. Poke around first next time.


  • "Linux currently offers mighty slim pickings for ordinary computer users."

    ??--What do ordinary computer users use that Linux does not have? Linux has image editing software (GIMP), web browsing and email software (NETSCAPE), Office-type software (K OFFICE, APPLIXWARE, STAR OFFICE). Have I missed anything that an ordinary computer user would want to use on any ordinary day?

    "Meanwhile, billions of human hours have been spent writing the amazing applications that run on the Windows and Macintosh platforms."

    This is true. However, most useful applications for Windows are third-party. Eventually, these companies will be writing their software for Linux too. (i.e. Wordperfect)

    "to CD-ROM shoot'em-up games like Doom and Quake"

    --oh gee, wow, wish i could play Doom or Quake in Linux....oh wait...I CAN!

    The Internet was working swell on traditional Unix, Macintosh and Windows NT before Linux was much more than a glimmer in Linus' eye" it's working better than before--and for free...

    "Meanwhile, they would have us reinvent the wheel by wasting billions more hours creating applications to take advantage of Linux"

    What the hell?!? Reinvent the wheel?? What is this guy smoking??

    Why do people not do more research before they write garbage like this. This guy has probably never even seen Linux in operation. Never seen all the cool apps that run perfectly on it--that were coded for (oh my!) free...

    And, I agree with someone's comment before mine -- What the hell is wrong with a little competition?!? It makes everyone's product better in the end...
  • by Cysgod ( 21531 ) on Sunday April 25, 1999 @05:48PM (#1917187) Homepage
    Now before the flaming contest begins, it is important to note that the author was correct about a few things. And then he was wrong about quite a few things. And then there are some ugly truths...

    The Good:
    * The truth is that Linux suffers from a dearth of real usable applications. This is changing rapidly, but at the moment, the lack of apps is the truth for most purposes.

    * Microsoft gets lots of mindless bashing from Linux (and *BSD and MacOS) users. Unfortunately people just call Microsoft bad and don't understand the reasons why.

    The Bad:

    * The author claims that his years of experience make him better able to analyze the operating system market. Unfortunately the computer world doesn't work that way, let alone the world in general. Usually it's the young kids in a garage throwing together a product that cause revolutions, particularly in this industry.

    * The author implies that if everyone ran the same operating system there would be an overall benefit. This isn't true at all. Choice and competition causes the operating systems to improve. A capitalist society without competition is a Bad Thing (see also "Railroad/Steel/Oil Barons").

    The Ugly:

    * The ugly truth for the Linux community is that some users' rage toward Microsoft outweighs their ability to justify their anger. If you believe that all software should be free, then you might have some room for anger. However, programmers are not charity cases generally, and you can't feed your family or yourself by giving your work away. There is room for both free and commercial software to coexist happily.

    * The ugly truth about Microsoft is that people are hating them for all the wrong reasons. Once all the anti-competitive practices become the object of the public's rage, rather than just their shoddy software, then all the anti-trust laws will be strengthened. Microsofts crime isn't that it sells lots of software, it's that it leverages the software to screw the little guys by not releasing standards, API calling conventions, etc. Stallman wrote a nice piece recently touching on the fact that it is the leveraging that is the real crime with MS.

    * The last ugly truth is that dearth of applications I mentioned. The tools to do certain tasks in Linux simply aren't there. If I'm doing programming then it's all a little bit better because many programming tools started in Unix (not Linux), and were quickly converted. At the same time though consumer and small business applications on Linux (or *BSD) are either not as well-featured as the Windows equivilant, or they don't exist.
    There is a steep learning curve coming too. If you have a superior operating system in some aspect, and the applications, then users will come, right? Wrong. Look at Apple folks. MacOS although not superior in it's low-levels, has a vastly superior user interface to anything else out there. (I'm sure I'll get flamed for saying it, but it is simply a fact.) MacOS has plenty of applications for any task that are parallel or more featured than Win32 equivilants, but they don't have the user base, because they don't have the users and purchasers out of the WinEverywhere mindset yet.
    To get users out of this mindset, and to convince this columnist that your operating system is better you need a killer app, that no other platform has. And Linux, just like *BSD, just like MacOS, just like BeOS, doesn't have that killer app yet to break the Windows mindset in consumers.

    Pardon the novel... this is probably my 10 cents worth.
  • I really hate to see articles like this. Although there are a few valid points in the article, it is overshadowed with dripping sarcasm.

    The author would rather see us all get hired by m$ and write windows 2000 instead of working on "the dinky feature-weak, application-starved flavor of home-brewed Unix known as Linux".


    I think what Mr. Coates fails to realize is that there are a LOT of programmers in the world.

    What's more, taste is subjective. Asking everyone to adopt a single standard solely for the sake of conformity is ludicrous. America was founded on the ideals of freedom of choice. To say that all of us (which he generalizes as young, idealistic, anti-establishment hackers) are "wasting billions more hours creating applications to take advantage of Linux and make Torvalds' colleagues at Linux software houses like Red Hat Inc. and Caldera Systems Inc. rich" is insane.

    I don't think he gets it. I'd suggest everyone send him email, but I can't seem to find his email address anywhere.

  • by SEWilco ( 27983 ) on Sunday April 25, 1999 @05:35PM (#1917205) Journal
    He mentions the large amount of hours needed to develop Linux applications. He does not mention the larger number of hours being lost every week as millions of Microsoft systems crash and waste the time of users, maintenance, and administrative staff.
  • by Telsa ( 29774 ) on Sunday April 25, 1999 @05:45PM (#1917209) Homepage
    I do wonder whether it's even worth putting such links on Slashdot. It sends their hits sky-high, so the advertisers love it, the editor loves it, and enough Slashdot readers send unpleasant responses for the columnist to base their next column on the phenomenon. I don't see why we should give them more grist for their mill.
  • How do killer apps happen? To use Geoffry Moore's
    analogy, they are the result of the Tornado --
    technology and users needs coming together at
    just the right point in time, so that a lazy
    product segment becomes an unstoppable force.
    And in the end, one company ("the gorilla")
    dominates the segment. Looking back in history,
    relational databases were a tornado, Oracle
    became the gorilla. Internet infrastructure was
    a tornado, Cisco became the gorilla. Desktop
    publishing was a tornado, and the Macintosh and
    Adobe shared joint gorilla status until recently.

    On the free software server front, Apache and
    Samba were the real gorillas, and Linux came
    along as infrastructure for them. If we're
    looking for desktop "killer apps", we need to
    look to the future, predict the most probable
    Tornados, and be ready -- not look in the rear
    view mirror at Office, Microsoft got there first.
    Especially since most of us don't even use an
    app like Office to get our own work done -- we
    use TeX+emacs.
  • but we are doing it so no-one else will have to again. That is where he completely misses the point. The current system of software development forces us to reinvent the wheel. Work done can only be reused and fixed to the extent that the original author allows. If we were allowed to fix and improve current software then linux would indeed be waste of time. But we can't and
    in the long run linux and open software will greatly reduce the amount of wasted time and effort that the author is so worried about.
    Linux is the solution, not the problem!
  • It IS kind of annoying to think that anyone would feel satisfaction for putting out this kind of garbage. However, there is an ideological objective to be gained by proactively fighting FUD, error, and just plain stupidity. I'm just as tempted to passivity as the next guy due to the time and effort that proactivity entails, however I think that is a weak tactic.

    Sometimes you have to start small fires to put out big ones. Sometimes you have to keep fighting the little skirmishes while you're perfecting the big weapon. :) Seems to me that anyone who has been given a public mouth has the potential to do damage, especially if their platform is built on pillars of non-logic and non-fact, etc. The way I see it, we have a moral obligation to straighten these guys out. And who better qualified for this job than slashdot readers? :)

    "Know thy ignorance."

  • One of the most sensible statements made in this thread.

    This "journalist" is trolling for flameage which will most likely be used in a follow-up article which shows the world (of Chicago) geeks being rude and intolerant -- the implied comparison is with the nice folks at Microsoft, of course. Haven't we seen enough of this type of crap recently? Playing into it doesn't serve us well. I can understand wanting to counter FUD, but this isn't FUD -- it's base, intentionally antagonistic and meant to irritate and elicit specific reactions.

    I agree with Telsa -- time to stop feeding this type of troll.
  • by mixmasta ( 36673 ) on Monday April 26, 1999 @12:09AM (#1917244) Homepage Journal
    Ha hah, If this article weren't so silly it might make me angry. However I know that journalists frequently write unpopular articles just to stir up some debate, which isn't all bad. Unfortunately, maybe without realizing it he has made it clear to anyone with a background in technical (or even economic) areas that he has no clue what he's talking about, heh heh.

    Let's take a closer look into what he was saying. Hmm, Bill isn't a monster . . . ok, I can agree with that. He's simply a shrewd and lucky businessman, whose increasing market share has led him and his company to lose sight of little things like fair play and morals, etc. Here again this is simply human nature, not out of the ordinary. People with an unfair advantage over others *will* use the advantage. Didn't some "Wise Old Dead Dude" say that "power corrupts?" I agree.

    Now he goes on a rant on how we should stop wasting our time supporting competition and choice and just accept Windows as our personal savior. Huh? Has he ever taken a single economics class at that Cracker-Jack college he went to? When has a lack of choice *ever* resulted in a better situation for the consumer? Hmm, I don't know. Ask your cable company, *if* you can get them to answer the phone!

    Also, I should just mention that Linux (really open source in general) is not ever going away. This is exactly the type of collaboration that the internet makes possible and encourages. You are witnessing the power of the contributions of the *entire* world sharing and collaborating, and building on the work of others. Just as the power of compound interest makes for a much better investment return you will see much better and varied software now and later. Do you really think the third world (where the real growth is) is gonna fork over $300 for each computer to the richest (maybe?) man in the world? The only M$ products they use now are pirated.

    If linux seems unfinished, well that's because it *is*! And yet it grows exponentially every year. Perhaps you are making your judgements on the linux of a year ago, I assure you this is not your father's linux. Windows will simply never be able to catch up after W2k version, because the version after that won't be out until 2003, while linux will be significantly improved every 3-6 months. It is already technically superior, it just needs to fleshed out with user apps, and that is happening quickly.

    Finally, if anyone is wasting their time they're wasting it on Windows. They are supporting the very company that limits their choice, rewards them with dll conflicts and frequent reboots and crashes, as well as not supporting a system that benefits us all.

  • by Nightshade ( 37114 ) on Sunday April 25, 1999 @06:21PM (#1917246)
    It's true. Windows is an easier operating system to use. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not into Windows or Microsoft advocacy here. But neither am I into Linux advocacy either. I use whichever platoform and whichever set of applications make MY life easier and get MY job done. As economists would say: it's all a matter of utility. Does the cost of purchasing Windows and the frequent crashes and reboots of my windows applications outweigh the ease of use of the system? I don't know. Currently I am running a partitioned hard drive with both Windows and Linux. I have learned much about Linux and the ways of UNIX this past year and right now I will still say that even for the high tech of us, even for those of us who like to be in super control, Windows can do everything Linux can do and is much easier to make things happen. But I'm a programmer at heart and I certainly support the Open Source movement which seems to unlike anything else in society. I mean, where else do you have hundreds (sometimes thousands) of strangers uniting in a common goal with common objectives. I think if you take a step back and think about it, that is the amazing thing about Linux. Whereas Windows has hundreds of people working on the source code because they're getting paid, Linux has hundreds of people working on the source code because THEY WANT TO. And that is why I will continue to support Linux over Windows despite the fact that Windows is easier RIGHT NOW. But knowing the pace at which Linux has been developing, I have no doubt that Linux has the potential to outpace Windows in terms of ease of use and any other standard by which one may measure an operating system against another.

    In the end I believe that choice is good because of the competition it promotes, and I will choose to support Linux and the ideology behind its growth and development.
  • If NT is the wave of the future, what doesn't he go down to the server room and see that they are running solaris???

    Hey lookie here, it's not NT! []
  • I live in Chicago and read the Tribune occasionally. I have yet to read one of his columns that I wasn't mentally correcting. He makes huge errors on a regular basis - this was one of his least clue-free ones. Wait till you see one of his real doozies.

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta